Daniel Yábar Interview - Skatepark builder

Interview with Daniel Yábar, Skatepark Architect. |  by Sebastião Belfort Cerqueira

Daniel Yábar’s skatepark designs have drawn much attention, revealing an unusual sensitivity to textures, colours, and surrounding spaces. In this interview he lets us know how his architectural ethos has more to do with giving the people what they need than necessarily creating masterpieces.

I’ve had the chance to read about your process of becoming an architect and designing skateparks in other interviews you’ve done, but I haven’t found one where you tell the other side of that story, that is, how you became a skater. Where and when did you start?

I started skating in Logroño, the capital of the Spanish region of La Rioja. I think I started when I was thirteen, more or less, after seeing the movie Thrashin’ [1986] with my friends. We decided we should see if we could get some skateboards. I found this Sancheski orange cruiser and that was my first step. Then we always went to the only place around that seemed skateable at all, the Plaza del Espolón. It’s a square in the centre of Logroño, where people still go to skate today. We didn’t do anything, we just cruised. Not much later we saw a guy there doing an ollie, just going up a little step, just jumping and landing and we were like “wow!”

That was the beginning. Logroño is a small town but there was a big boom in skateboarding. Suddenly there were like three or four different crews of people skating on different routes. That meant like 50 or 60 people skating in Logroño. The city was pretty small so we hung out all over the city, I mean, we knew the city to the millimitre, we knew each spot, each little place... We’d go all around the city, to the industrial park, pretty much everywhere just finding places to skate.

So you had a little skate scene in Logroño, that’s pretty cool. When was that, like the late 80s?

I think I was thirteen so... I’d say around 91. But we were the first generation in Logroño that ever skated. People there didn’t understand it, they’d be like “what are you kids doing here with those things?” I’m still friends with some of the guys I started skating with and some of them haven’t stopped skating. I live in Madrid now, but when I go to Logroño to visit my parents I still get to hang out with them and with the new generations.

  • "We knew the city to the millimitre, we knew each spot, each little place...
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I know you began designing skateparks as a trade after spending some years in another architect’s studio. That was some years ago, how long have you had your own studio?

I finished college in 2004, I think, yeah I’m pretty sure. I spent four years in that studio in Bilbao. They did a lot of singular projects, like wineries, football stadiums, bullrings, etc. The head of the studio was an architect from Bilbao called Diego Garteiz and he knew I was a skateboarder so he told me that if I knew of any skate-related projects, any skateparks or anything, that he’d be open to work on them in the studio. I did three or four skateparks in the studio, but then I moved to Madrid, I’d say around 2008.

So you’ve been on your own for over ten years now. I was looking at your website and all the projects you have there are of skateparks or skate plazas – do you still do typical architect stuff, like houses and offices and so on?

Well... sometimes I get some different projects. I designed the offices for the football federation of La Rioja, I also did the project for a local medical centre in a small town near Logroño, but, I mean, when you go down the way of a certain specialization, you have to let go of some of the other stuff. In the beginning you try to work as much as you can, but now I’m more focused on skateparks. I don’t know how to express this idea of specialization better. I guess in architecture, when you know how to design skateparks or houses, it doesn’t mean that you know how to design hospitals or stuff like that. So nowadays if someone offered me a project for a house I’d probably have to refuse it or refer them to a friend.

Then that means that you can have your studio running on skatepark projects, that must be a cool feeling.

Well, most of the projects are about the skatepark, but many of them include compatible uses, landscaping, integration with city planning. Sometimes you design a skatepark but it has to include an outdoor gym or a fitness trail, sometimes it’s not just a skatepark but it has to be a bike park too, or a garden... but yeah, all things surrounding a skatepark.

Many architects who have their own firms will say they only do their kind of singular designs, and maybe ten years from now I’ll be able to say something like that, but right now I think the skaters have to come first.

Do you have a team working with you?

I work on my own. In Spain we have a saying that helps me explain this: quien mucho abarca poco aprieta. [Don’t bite off more than you can chew.]

Yeah, I guess we have a similar one in Portuguese. What about the building part, do you have anything to do with the people who end up building the parks you’ve designed?

It depends on the management model. Many times the owner, the council, whoever is in charge only wants the design to begin with. Then they organize a public tender and the builders have to submit their proposals. That’s the most common model in Spain. Sometimes they say “ok, we want it designed and built”, and so the architects and engineers collaborate with the builders and submit joint proposals to the same tender.

Looking at your portfolio, one could say you have both the more traditional kind of skatepark and then the ones that I understand have drawn more attention to your work, which are more integrated into the urban landscape. Which of your projects do you feel blends in better with its surroundings?

I think a good example would be the one in Santa Cruz, in La Granja. Maybe also the skateplaza in Logroño or the Santa Lucia skatepark, in Vitoria. But it’s not that big of a deal for me. I’m not prejudiced in favour of the unique design, integrated kind of skatepark nor the more traditional, sports facility-type ones. It depends on the goals of the project. If the skaters or the council are asking you for a functional skatepark, it’s very egocentric of you to say “no no no, I don’t do traditional, I only make singular designs”, like you want to be the architect-designer. If they’re asking you for a traditional skatepark with a simple and functional design, then that’s what you have to give them. Many architects who have their own firms will say they only do their kind of singular designs, and maybe ten years from now I’ll be able to say something like that, but right now I think the skaters have to come first.

Places like Macba or Love Park are huge, they’re massive. Five times larger than most skateparks. How can you compete with that?

I get it. Actually I was thinking that it must be rare to get the opportunity to turn a regular city square into a skateplaza. How does that happen? Did you ever have to convince the people from city council, were they looking for that in the first place?

At some point, as an architect, you have the obligation to give the best possible advice to the skaters and decision makers. As an architect and a skater I have to tell them what I think is best. Sometimes they’ll say “no, I know what I want, I want a traditional, concrete skatepark, with fences around it.” I may try to tell them that that’s not the way skateboarding and contemporary skateparks are going, but they have the final say. Sometimes the local skaters and the local authorities know about skateboarding and where it’s headed, so you don’t really have to give them much advice. It depends on the project.

I remember the case in Santiago de Compostela. The skaters were skating this plaza for years that is not exactly in the centre but still in a good part of the city, behind the Galician Parliament. They had conflicts with the neighbours and people walking around with their kids and everything, so city hall wanted to take them out of there, build them a standard skatepark outside the city. The local skaters’ association tried to fight to stay in the plaza but the council wasn’t having it so they had to arrive at a compromise. The plaza was in this big park, inside of which we managed to find another plaza with granite floor that was completely abandoned. We did a little street course with rails and stuff, so in the end they had the same granite surface to skate and although they weren’t in the original plaza, which was skatestopped, they only had to move like 15 metres away from it.

Do you think that in the near future there’ll be a bigger overall sensitivity towards the benefits of having skateparks in livelier parts of the city, instead of being confined to urban voids?

I think there’s already some awareness and some sensitivity, as you say. Not only on the side of the skateboarding communities but also with the decision makers. When you are dealing with these decision makers, you find a little bit of everything. You find some people who are really well-informed and really know what the people want and then you find others that have no idea what we’re talking about. I think there is more awareness and, as time goes on, people learn about these things, also because of the olympics. People in general are more interested in skateboarding now that they’ve heard that it’s going to be an olympic sport, so they’re trying to figure out what it’s all about, what the skateboarding communities are looking for in terms of facilities and everything. I feel in general there is more and more knowledge about what skateboarders need.

Well, one thing is for sure, I think your skatepark designs really help in bridging that gap. If I was going to meet with city council tomorrow to get a skatepark built I know I’d take some pictures of your designs to show them how architecturally and visually rich a skatepark can become.

[Laughs] Thank you.

Moving on, does it ever happen to you, when you’re just walking around a city, that you look at some place and you immediately think it would be a perfect spot to transform into a skatepark?

Yeah, sure. It happens to me but I’m sure it happens to all the skatepark designers. It comes with the profession. Still, many times you see a really cool spot in the street and then, when you want to bring it into a skatepark design, you realize that this spot needs a lot of space. Nowadays skatepark design is going through a standardization, where every distance between features is really measured and so on. So when you see a cool spot that you’d like to adapt, often you find out you need a lot more space than you have, and if you need more space that means you won’t have room for all the standard features, you know, the hubba, the eurogap, the manual pad... You might have to sacrifice your whole design just because you found an amazing spot in some street in some city... it’s not as easy as it seems.

For example, in the Santiago plaza I was telling you about I included a reproduction of a famous street spot, this handraill in Málaga. It’s like a long ramp, then you have three stairs and there’s a long rail alongside. So when you get to the three stairs you can slide the end of the rail. This spot is amazing, it’s near the sea, this long, blue rail. Lots of pros have skated it. The thing is the ramp is so long you really need space if you’re going to try to reproduce it. However, in this case, in Santiago, I was working with one stipulation: that the skateplaza would be pedestrian-friendly. In order to make it safe for pedestrians, I had to follow the Spanish accessibility laws. Of course that ramp in Málaga was built according to these norms, because it’s in a public street. That, plus the shape of the area we were working with, made it possible to reproduce the street spot.

I was wondering, if you could choose any place in any city, maybe even a famous skate spot like Love Park or Macba, to make a project for, which would it be?

Well... the ones you’ve said are some of the more internationally recognized... but for example, the Macba plaza... you’re talking about 5000 square metres. The average skatepark will have an area closer to 1000 square metres, so the plaza is like five times bigger. It’s really difficult. But actually once I had this idea for the main space in Macba, where you have the long ledge and the gap, just by the entrance to the museum. I thought it would be pretty cool if it were a symmetrical spot. Because you have the ledge on one side and it determines what tricks you can do whether you’re regular or goofy, so it would be great if you had the same ledge on the other side.

But anyway, places like Macba or Love Park are huge, they’re massive. Five times larger than most skateparks. How can you compete with that? Just that main area of Macba is 1000 square metres. If you design a whole skatepark with just a ledge, a gap, and a low-to-high... well, people want more stuff.

Speaking of wanting more stuff, I have to ask you if there’s anything that you’re working on that we can know about, maybe something going into construction or about to open to the public?

Right now I’m working on the design for a skatepark bowl, in Tenerife, near La Granja. The city organized an opinion poll and they asked me for two designs: one was a granite skateplaza, the other was a bowl. So they had this poll and the bowl won.

Actually, I find that a little unexpected. I mean, here in Portugal the tendency is always more towards street skating. I’m pretty sure the street course would win here.

In this case the bowl won but I think because in Tenerife you already have some good street plazas. And also because you have a lot of surfers, you get people there that are into surfing or longboarding and those guys will also get in the pool to skate. I guess it wasn’t just skaters, the surfers may have helped to tip the scale.

Very well. Would you like to add anything to wrap this up?

Well... I don’t know... maybe I’d just like to go back to that idea we were talking about: I really don’t feel that all skateparks need to be this special, singular design that blends in perfectly with the urban landscape, but I’m also not of the opinion that they should be a detached, enclosed sports facility kind of thing. Both options are ok if they serve the needs of that particular community. If you ask me, I’d say the direction skateboarding is taking leans more towards the integrated kind of skatepark that is a part of the city, that is built with the city. That’s the opinion I think most skateboarders have... but you need everything. The city needs everything: the sports facility for training and competitions and the olympics and Street League, but also the plaza in the town, integrated into the life of the city. The ideal would be to have everything.

Yeah, I guess that would be perfect. Thank you very much, Daniel.

Thank you.

By Sebastião Belfort Cerqueira

Get ready for the Super Crown World Championship in Rio de Janeiro

November 3, 2022 In a couple of days the best skaters will compete in the Olympic Park. With the highlights on the duel between the Portuguese Gustavo Ribeiro and the Japanese Yuto Horigome, as well as the phenomenon Rayssa Leal, from Brazil The Arena Carioca 1, at Parque Olimpico da Barra, will host, between the 5th and 6th of November, the Super Crown World Championship, the final stage of the Skate Street World League (SLS) 2022. This is considered the main skate street competition to be held in the country in 2022. For this year's edition, the SLS Super Crown World Championship expects to receive around five thousand fans a day. The important names of the modality are awaited in the search for the title. In the men's, the Portuguese Gustavo Ribeiro, who won the recent stage in Las Vegas, will have as his main opponent the Olympic champion, the Japanese Yuto Horigome, who leads the ranking.  Photos credit: Julio Detefon / CBSk In the women's, Brazilian Rayssa Leal, who won all stages of the 2022 Street League Skateboarding (SLS), held in Jacksonville, Seattle and Las Vegas, arrives as the favorite. She also won the STU Open Rio, held at Praça Duó, in Barra da Tijuca. Second place in the STU Open Rio and in the world ranking, Pâmela Rosa also has a chance to win the third consecutive world championship.  In addition to the top four in the SLS men's and women's rankings, the top four will compete in the final after the qualifying stage, which will take place on Saturday, the 5th, at Arena 1 at the Olympic Park.  In the 2021 edition, TV coverage of the event was followed by more than six million people worldwide, while another five million were impacted by social media. In Brazil, the economy around the modality moves almost 200 million dollars, which places the country as the second largest skate business center in the world, after the United States of America. Visit StreetLeague website Watch Live

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How many skateparks are there in the world?

November 2, 2022 The million dollar question? How many skateparks are there in the world?  Three years ago, this whole crazy journey started, because I wanted to make the first map of all the skateparks in Portugal. After completing my first country I decided to map out the rest of the world and basically never stopped uploading parks since then. The following data is not 100% accurate, because I am still uploading hundreds of new parks a week. But one thing if for sure. There are 16449 skateparks in the world on our map and I estimate there are around 23000 public skateparks around the globe. What country has the most skateparks? The United States of America has way more skateparks than any other country in the world and there are 7 countries with over 1000 skateparks. The United States of America, Germany, United Kingdom, France, Australia, Spain and Brazil are all members of the +1000 club. Below you can find a list of the current top 20 countries with the most parks. What country has the most skateparks per capita? Having the most skateparks is one thing. But who has the most parks per capita? Well, yesterday I put all the numbers in excel to find out. The results are surprising. Liechentstein comes on first place. This small country has 5 parks and a population of 38383, meaning you have a park for every 7676 people. The USA currently is far from reaching the top 20 list with one park for every 98782 people. Brazil is another country that disappears off the list with one park for every 214781 people. Below you can find the current status of population/skatepark for the top 20 countries. These lists and rankings will change over time whilst I continue to upload and find parks, but it does give us an idea of the current situation around the world. Know a skatepark that is missing on the map? You can add the skatepark here and help keep our map up to date! See all the skateparks in the world Add a skatepark to the map 

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Style is fundamental in Olympic Skateboarding

October 31, 2022, interview with Marcos Hiroshi Subjectiveness, originality and fearless tricks are the secrets to success in Olympic skateboarding. In this third part of the interview with Marcos Hiroshi we get a comprehensive view about how judges value a good trick. Stay foolish is still a good mantra. How have the Olympics changed skateboarding in Brazil? We got the power to advocate. Skateboarding now has the same importance and relevance as many other sports. Now we can talk to politicians and demand a skatepark like other sports demand new facilities. Skateboarding is becoming more popular in Brazil… Yes, even folks who didn't know anything about skateboarding are now more curious. People want to know more about skateboarding and hear stories about their heroes. The bad image of skateboarding belongs to the past. A rider is not an outcast anymore. Skateboarding is now a kid’s sport. It's something that brings all people together. It's more than just winning or taking over the other one to rule. The image of that girl being raised was a landmark in the Olympics. The Japanese skater, Misugu Okamoto, missed the podium after bailing a flip attempt and falling into the concrete bowl. While she was crying, other competitors showed up to hug her and lifted her on their shoulders, becoming one of the most powerful images of that competition. This was the perfect calling card of skateboarding. Now you have that uncle who during a family dinner is talking about the young girls who are rocking in skateboarding, like Rayssa Leal. That's a good thing, because people are interested in skateboarding and it unites people.  It is about empowerment. Thanks to this, riders are receiving scholarships. They do not ride just to get a sponsor; they get money from the state or local government. That money will sustain the skater and that is a huge change! Furthermore, many specialists started to work on the backstage: therapists, physiotherapists, coaches, referees…  people who became professionals. I was in Tokyo during the Olympics and people from other sports were saying ‘hey, I like the way things work in skateboarding.’ They got impressed. You have conquered a place… Yes, but we are having some disputes with Worldskate, which is more related to roller skate. Skateboarding wants to take their own decisions and follow its own path. Worldskate has nothing to do with skateboarding. Fortunately, skateboarding is rising in other countries due to the Olympics. I went to China recently and I noticed how powerful skateboarding is. I saw some exceptionally good things in Turkey too. You are a judge member at skateboarding competitions, including the Olympics. How subjective is your analysis? There is a fixed value for a trick. The extra comes from other factors like did he do that it at the limit, the speed, style... For that we give hundredths of a point and that is what makes the difference. Let us say a deep slide is worth 5,10 but the guy who does that perfectly and with style gets 5,86. We value the one who makes the difference. It's not like snowboarding, where there are mandatory maneuvers with a closed and fixed value. Subjectiveness is one of the more important parts of skateboarding. Style and individuality mean a lot, which is the essence of skateboarding. We stand to prevent riders to become robots. How do the judges establish judgment rules? The CBSK created referee courses to explain, in each state, how the evaluation system works. Judges learn how to take notes, what to pay attention to, etc. Do you watch training sessions to? Yes. In the Olympics we must watch all training sessions since day one. Is there a specific training sessions’ number? Yes. If a competition starts on Thursday, then Tuesday and Wednesday are dedicated to practice and official training sessions. That is when we see what the athletes are preparing and what they are going to do in competition. We start to study them on previous days. Based on that we, the judges, start to set an average to a special trick. Give me an example. Let us say we see a guy doing a flipnose blunt. We start to discuss: how much should we grade it? And then we start to make charts to divide it in those items that we talked about before. We go to the park, too, to try it. It is impossible to understand the difficulty level of the obstacles from a higher point of view. By going there, we see the distance between obstacles, how high they are, witch side is more difficult, if there is a crack. Those details will help us to have a full guide and to give a fair rate. You must decide very quickly. Because competitions have TV broadcasting, judges cannot debate rates, we must decide almost immediately. We have 15/20 seconds to do it. That is why we prepare everything in advance. Is there a chance of a rider surprising you during a competition? That is almost impossible. If a rider wants to show a new trick, he must try it before, at training sessions, where we are studying them. I remember one time a guy doing a Caballerial nose flip. He was just trying, but we started to debate ‘how are we going to score this if he does it during the competition’? How many judges were you at the Olympics, in Tokyo? Five judges and a head judge. I was a park judge. Are the Olympics changing the skateboarding categories? Mixing styles in one competition is the future? Yes, the future is to combine all features at one single track. The rider of the future will be the one who has not just a category, he must do everything well. It is by watching championships that you see who has that profile. Andy Anderson is a good example; he is someone from freestyle who rocks in park. Park is still too attached to bowl and vert; the future will be a fusion of all these categories. Instagram Marcos Hiroshi Read interview part 2

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Skatepark hunter in the highlight - Patrick Peeters - 100 skateparks added to the map

October 28, 2022, interview with skatepark hunter Patrick Peeters Meet Patrick Peeters, one of our top skatepark hunters, who visited 107 skateparks in less than a year. Patrick Peeters is a Belgian TV camera operator who discovered skateboarding during a "bad moment" in his life. Skateboarding helped him "clear" his mind and chasing skateparks in Europe has been his passion since then. 107 skateparks, in less than 1 year, is one hell of an effort, so we decided to have a chat and find out more. First, tell us something about you. Where are you from, what do you do and how/when did skateboarding turn part of your life. Hello, I'm Patrick, I'm 46, I live in Belgium where I work as a television cameraman. As a teenager I skated, but can't remember doing anything special. I just liked cruising around and jumping over some self-build quarters. Then I stopped skating for 30 years, but have been back on a board for the last year and half. So yep, I'm back skating again and love it. In the beginning actually my sister wanted to start with inline skating, so I went along at the local pumptrack with her and that's how it all started. What drives you to find, discover and help update new skateparks? I love to skate at different parks, just so I can find spots I like. Skating different parks helps me get comfortable on different surfaces, shapes, heights of quarters, and carve in different bowls. I was planning to make a Facebook Page or something similar, to collect my pictures of different parks, to get my own sort of database. And then I discovered Trucks and Fins. I knew this was what I was looking for. I believe there are more people that would love to have information and see quality photos of skateparks, before making the decision to go there or not. And that's why I love to help update the website. Can you tell us how far you go to explore a skatepark? When I drive to a skatepark the first reason is to find a spot to skate. The second reason is to get photos of the park because I am there. I'm lucky to be allowed by my chief to make some detours on my way to work abroad, so I can drive some extra km's to check out parks in France and other places. Along the way I have found some great skateparks. Recently I was on vacation in Tenerife and of course couldn't resist to check out all the local parks and put them on the Trucks and Fins website. You have visisted 107 skateparks, what are your favourite? And what about the worst? I didn't end up skating all the parks. Due to weather or not having a board I didn't skate every single one of the parks. But from the ones I did skate the worst was Grand Marais Skatepark near Amiens in France. It's a concrete bowl with a nice shape, but because it's old, there are pieces of concrete coming off everywhere. I just left after a couple of minutes. It really wasn't possible to skate there. The best? I can't really pick "a" favourite, so here are my top 3: Du Grand Large in Mons, Strombeek Bever near Brussels, and Sint Niklaas skatepark. They all have a nicely shaped bowl and a street section with different obstacles in an interesting setup and quality quarters. Based on your experience, does the average skatepark have the right features for average riders? What could improve? For me there is no ‘standard rider' because of the different disciplines. It's difficult to build a park that's right for all of them. For street you want lots of flat space and obstacles, for transition skating you want a lot of quarters and half pipes in different heights, and for a bowl you want a good closed bowl to carve around. But I guess Blaarmeersen in Gent, Sint Niklaas and Strombeek Bever are all-round good parks. What could improve is getting more in contact with the local skate community when building a park. I have visited a lot of big expensive parks with a bad surface, bad quarters, or the trend now to paint bowls... Skateboarding is a social gathering, too. Do you have a happy story at a skatepark you would like to share? Recently I met a woman who was skating but wanted to skate more and with other people. She was happy to learn about the 'skating for adults’ lesson I was following each week, and she joined our group. When I was on a little holiday in Vienna, Austria, I met some local skaters who invited me to their park, lended me a board, Vans and full protection gear so I could have a go. It was a fantastic moment skating together and being welcomed like that. What is your favourite trick? Not sure if it qualifies as a trick, but I love to carve and I hear nice comments about my carve skills. I know it's definitely not a standard skill. At the De Kuil bowl in Den Haag one skater said that at the time he first tried skating a bowl, he already skated 10 years but couldn't carve, and was impressed with my carving after 1 year skateboarding. Another skater said he held competitions between his friends to see who was able to carve a curve after a curve, but they couldn't do it. And to see me do it like I do after just 1 year was really great. So, I guess it is a trick! Who’s your favourite rider (actual or all time, it’s your call)? To be honest I don't follow any specific rider. I prefer to follow adults on their journey to learn to skate than more experienced skaters. But of course, as a kid and still now I know Tony Hawk and really like his style. Would you like add something I didn’t ask? I want to go more into what skateboarding has done for me. I started to skate when I was in a bad place in life. Skateboarding gave me a thing to focus on. Something to clear my mind, a reason to go outside and do something, to meet other people, and do some good exercise. It has helped me a lot on a mental and physical level, which I could never have imagined when I started. As I have become fairly active on Instagram with my skate account, I had some people who told me they are inspired by my journey, by my progress, and so I think it's given me an extra boost to share it all, the positive and the negative. And I always like to leave a positive remark or an encouraging note. We all have our own journey, our own progress, don't compare yourself to others. Just have fun and enjoy your own skills. Could you give us your opinion about our project, Trucks and Fins? I love it! It is exactly what I was looking for. A map with all the skateparks, with some pictures, so I can plan a skate trip to the parks of my interest. I hope every skater will get to know this map, and to use it for their trips. Patrick Peeters Instagram See Patrick Peeters his skatepark portfolio

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How has the Rayssa Leal phenomenon changed the image of skateboarding in Brazilian so...

October 4, 2022 How has the Rayssa Leal phenomenon changed the image of skateboarding in Brazilian society? Well, let's start off with this... In 2022 there are more girls than boys in skateboarding schools in Brazil. Don't miss the second part of this conversation with Marcos Hiroshi, former Brazilian professional rider, where we tried to understand how Brazil turned into a massive player in the world of skateboarding.    How do you explain the evolution of skateboarding in Brazil? We had ups and downs, but at one time skateboarding started to appear frequently on TV and city halls all around Brazil started investing in skateparks. We had this mayor in São Paulo who started building a skatepark in each community youth Centre (places with schools, specialized courses and sports equipment, including, of course, skateparks). In São Paulo around thirty skateparks were build and the city became a reference in skateboarding. Most of these skateparks were built in the city’s outskirts, in poorer neighborhoods and many good riders came out of those initial skateparks. Mainstream media helped, too… Indeed. It was when the X-Games appeared. Suddenly, skateboarding was on TV all the time and we had our ace, Bob Burnquist, who became a true ambassador. Many others came afterwards: Sandro Dias, Rodrigo TX, Tiago Lemos, Luan Oliveira and the most recent of all, Rayssa Leal, who at the age of thirteen years old won the silver medal in the Olympics. Photos credit: Julio Detefon / CBSk What was the impact caused by Rayssa Leal in Brazil? A tremendous impact. Every child wants to ride now. Parents are being pressured by their kids to put them in skateboarding schools. The Olympics showed that a little girl can ride and have fun like if she was in a playground. I can even tell you more. In Brazil now, we have more girls than boys in skateboarding schools! Photos credit: Julio Detefon / CBSk You have accumulated a lot of experience in skateboarding events in Brazil… Yes, we acquired a lot knowledge in the last two decades. The CBSK (Brazilian Skate Confederation) exists for twenty years and has many skillful people. We have associations, federations, statutes, projects connected to schools, you name it. They are also many social associations that take kids from streets through skateboarding. All this know-how resulted in big events and we have created a whole group of specialized people along the way. The image of skateboarding in Brazil has changed… For sure. It became mainstream and less marginalized. Several years ago, parents didn't want their kids to skate. And a girl? Never! But now that all changed overnight. The general public now understands something about skateboarding because the Olympics and all the Brazilian "skateboarding" idols. Now we have public money allocated to skateboarding, to prepare the Olympics, because skateboarding is an official sport. This money is also used to build more skateparks. The CBSK has an agreement with local and central government to act like an official advisor with skatepark builders to prevent bad constructions. Photos credit: Julio Detefon / CBSk How many skateboarders do you have in Brazil? A search made in 2015 by Data Folha (data platform from newspaper Folha de São Paulo) concluded they were about 8,5 million skateboarders in Brazil, but I can say for sure that we have now more than ten million, after the Olympics in Tokyo. Instagram Marcos Hiroshi See all skateparks in Brazil

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